February

Stunning MetroABQ Pueblo Deco Architecture:

A Tour Through The KiMo Theater
The KiMo Theater is arguably the most colorful & the most architecturally interesting building in the MetroABQ. Found on Route 66 downtown between 4th & 5th Sts, you can't help but be drawn to the protruding ornaments, considerable tilework & intricate murals that adorn the Central Ave façade. Those three elements are integral to classic Pueblo Deco architecture, which is a mix of Pueblo Revival & Art Deco styles--a uniquely Southwestern creation.

Completed in 1927, the KiMo Theater describes itself as a "Pueblo-Deco picture palace & vaudeville theatre. Pueblo-Deco was a flamboyant, short-lived architectural style that fused the spirit of southwest Native American cultures with art moderne elements, popular during the 1920's-1930's.

"The interior included plaster ceiling beams to mimic actual wood vigas, colorful Indian symbols, air vents disguised as hanging Navajo Rugs, war-drums, Native American death canoe chandeliers, wrought iron Sandhill Crane railings, shields & buffalo skulls with red glowing eyes."  The owners & builder created an interpretation of native culture, borrowing some themes & designs--even incorporating what seems like Pacific NorthWest tribal images into the mix.

I was fortunate one afternoon to be part of a tour guided by KiMo Manager Larry Parker, who was very gregarious & entertaining, & provided a wealth of knowledge about the historic building. Below the marquee, below, are three images of the front entrance & interior lobby.
The KiMo Theater, built by the Bachechi family, has gone through a few incarnations over the years. By the 1970's, it had become run-down & was an adult film theater. A fire around that time damaged large portions of the stage area; soon after it was shut down. Slated for demolition, the city bought the building in 1977 & began running it as a performing arts center, with offices upstairs. Years later, a public vote allowed the city to restore & renovate it. It is one of only two downtown buildings still utilized today as originally designed--as a theater.

Below you can see one of the seven Carl von Hassler murals that adorn the mezzanine walls of the theater lobby. Called The Seven Cities of Cibola & created in the early 1930's, they depict his interpretation of the Pueblos, amid dazzling southwestern landscapes, which became a central theme of his paintings.

Further below is the amazing-to-see steel Sandhills Crane balustrades, followed by a scene looking across the balcony foyer.
In the 1990's, the city received a grant to restore the theater as close as possible to it's 1920's grandeur. Another mission was to modernize it--that included enlarging the stage, reducing the seat capacity to 700 from 1000, & adding an 'acoustic wrap', which optimizes acoustic & semi-amplified performances. The renovations were completed in 2001.

The diversity of current programming there is impressive: ballets, film festivals, actors' seminars, local productions, matinees & awards ceremonies are just a few of the offerings. Between Labor Day & Memorial Day the KiMo Theater is rented to third-party groups, such as anchor tenants Ballet Repertory Theatre & AMP Concerts. You may also rent the space for film production activities, as a character from Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul did recently.

Inside the theater itself, the ornamentation, tilework & dramatic murals continue. Above is the empty balcony seating area, with carved viga beams & mesa-top-designed chairs. Below, the impressive stage is rather unique: a catwalk above is disguised behind the stage-length red birds viga, allowing for discreet passage over the stage. Below that is circular air-vent, disguised as an ornate petroglyph design.
Above is a highly-decorated red bison skull light, one of 40 that adorn the lobby, mezzanine & theater walls.  Below are five decorative sconces & other lighting fixtures scattered throughout the theater.
Besides the Carl von Hassler paintings, other murals are prominent throughout the theater, like the one above & directly below. Intricate tilework, depicting stylized Pueblo Petroglyphs, are found mostly in the lobby; three examples are below. 

OPEN HOUSE Time:
Spring is around the next corner...soon a plethora of weekly weekend open houses to view will be available. Open Houses are instructive, even if you are not planning to buy a property this year: you get to see how your neighbors live, you brush up on the newest designs & finishes, you can compare the home featured in the open house to your home's value, & many are interesting to see regardless of why.

Click for an updated list of open houses in the greater MetroABQ area. Below is one in the University area that is worth seeing...
Wonderful gated, upscale two-bedroom townhome in historic Silver Hills neighborhood.

Open House is Sunday March 3rd, from 1-3pm. The address is 1607 Coal Avenue SE. No public parking in the gated complex. Find out more about the property.

The 9yo home, with lush, private courtyard, off-street parking space + garage, is adjacent to UNM/CNM, & has a spacious chic great-room with polished concrete floors & includes 11' ceilings, 42'' flat screen tv & audio system--both stay--central vacuum, unique LED pendant & recessed lighting system, Pella windows; courtyard has large glass sliders with built-in blinds, stainless appliances, solid-surface counters, durable TPO roof & A/C, app-controlled Nest thermostat, solid wood interior doors, alarm system & sleek ceiling fans. Enjoy the lush, private trellis-covered patio & the fully-landscaped gardens around the property. Fully-finished garage with storage. Come see!

See the 3-D Tour!
www.ChrisLucasABQ.com
 
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